I have written and edited for The Anchor for two years. Four semesters. One half of my college career. My introduction to the organization and its amazing staff serves as a clear-cut turning point in my Hope College experience. The Anchor provided me with direction, skill and pleasure, all because one day I reached out and tried something I knew I wasn’t cut out for.
Initially, The Anchor served as an experiment. The idea of me pursuing a career in journalism was more laughable than an NBA team winning 73 games in one season.
At the conclusion of my sophomore year, I was a lost boy. set on pursuing a communication major, but still completely undecided as to what sort of career or opportunities such a major would provide.
Enter Nicole, current Co-Editor-in-Chief, then staff writer and current friend. “Duncan, why don’t you write for The Anchor? You really should.”
At the outset of junior year, Nicole came through, I would be writing for The Anchor. Being an avid sports fan, as well as an athlete at Hope, paired with Nicole’s patented strong-arm techniques, I had little to no choice as to which section I would be joining: sports.
My grasp of AP style was non-existent, I spliced enough commas to give any copy editor an aneurism and I did not have a stance on the controversial and polarizing issue of the oxford comma. Under Nicole’s abrasive, yet helpful, wings, I learned how to make and miss deadlines, the natural balance of the head and assistant editor relationship, and that the sports section is the best section of The Anchor. Always.
I suppose I proved myself a worthy correspondent. I was granted the position of Staff Writer after publishing just one article. Prodigy yes, I know. I learned how to make swimming almost not boring and fell in love with sports I had never watched before, like volleyball.
Then I traveled to the dark side. In another episode of “why not” with Duncan MacLean, after just one semester of writing, I was hired to fill in as the Campus Co-Editor. I teamed up with world-renowned goober Alek Molenaar to take on the opening two pages of our storied paper. From Visiting Writer’s Series’ to the most fun winter break ever, we covered it all. We learned to deal with flaky, bad, overzealous and even non-existent writers.
After one (ah) semester writing and one (ah) semester on staff, The Anchor had taken me prisoner. I returned for my triumphant final lap in my rightful position as Sports Co-Editor. I teamed up with the overqualified and under-appreciated Adam Nottoli (future EIC due to my training) for the best year the sports section has seen since the prolific 1994-95 year of Greg Paplawsky.
The Anchor, despite its limited chronological presence, has been an invaluable part of my Hope College career. Here, at the conclusion of my farewell column, I find myself quite emotional. This organization, in circulation since 1887, has taught me not only technical lessons concerning the journalism industry, but also about people, stories, writing, art and life. It helped me find a major and industry I truly have passion for. I credit The Anchor (and Hope Update) with giving me the little professional direction I currently command.
There is so much to soak up in this world that is too often passed over by “busy” people. In a final word of advice: don’t let your passions be busy. Enjoy what you do at all costs, and every once in a while, blow something off. There is something cooler than that swim meet against Alma your editor is insisting you cover. Be a steward of the world. Experience all you can at any cost. Live boldly, write everything, read endlessly and most importantly, do it as an employee of The Anchor. And yes Nicole, it was me. Press passes was me, nearly every time.